February 8th, 2016 marks the beginning of the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese zodiac is different from the Western version in that instead of twelve month cycle, the Chinese zodiac has a twelve year cycle, with each cycle marked by a different animal. Each animal has its own strengths and characteristics and people born under each year are said to embody the characteristics of the animal associated with their year.
This year is The Monkey – Monkeys are known to be mischievous, playful, full of life and possessing a sharp sense of humor. Monkeys easily multi-task and master new skills with ease. Monkeys love to entertain and you can bet there is rarely a dull moment with a Monkey around. Gifted with a developed sense of empathy and a wisdom usually beyond their years, Monkeys make for wise counsel and are easy to talk to.
This is just a short list of Monkey traits – there are many great books and websites about the Chinese zodiac – but did you know that the Monkey is also one of the animal styles of Shaolin Kung Fu?
Monkey Kung Fu & Self Defense
Monkey style Kung Fu is based on the physical characteristics and movements of the monkey. The monkey is fast, explosive, elusive and changes levels via rolling and jumping. When done properly, a kung fu practitioner performing a monkey kung fu form moves – and acts – exactly like a monkey!
But – Monkey Kung Fu is not just for show. Hidden in this style of martial arts are movements that you see every day in your dojo and believe it or not, in mixed martial arts matches and many other martial arts styles. Shaolin Monk Wang Bo – a Shaolin Warrior Monk and key contributor to making the Z-Ultimate China Tour 2016 possible – is an expert in Monkey Kung Fu style and his latest series of seminars that he has been teaching with Z-Ultimate, he has been demonstrating how small movements – like when a monkey goes to scratch his wrist – are actually parries and blocks, just like you do in sparring.
Watching Wang Bo explain and demonstrate Monkey Kung Fu is fascinating – and a master class in how animal movements translate to self defense. To get an idea of his level of expertise, check out this video:
As you can see by the video, the level of athleticism required to perform Monkey Kung Fu is very demanding. If you ever get a chance to attend a Wang Bo seminar or you decide to join us on the Z-Ultimate China Tour, you will get to see – and feel – what it is like to train in Monkey style and other styles of Kung Fu.
Whether or not you believe in celebrating the Chinese New Year, may the Year of the Monkey (and 2016) be your best year ever!
P.S. – If you want to learn more about the Z-Ultimate China Tour 2016, please CLICK HERE. The first 100 seats sold out almost immediately and the next 50 are almost gone. If you are ready to register, CLICK HERE.
P.P.S. – We didn’t forget about last week’s post – remember when we talked about “The Force” and that we would share one “secret” behind developing your internal energy? Stay tuned…
P.P.P.S. – If you are in the Southern California area and would like to train with Shaolin Monk Wang Bo at the upcoming Monkey Style Seminar Series, please click here to find out more and register.